Leaping into action to capture chance encounter

PIC: Jonathan GawthorpePIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
A minor moment of natural magic in the Yorkshire countryside has been captured on camera for this week's Picture Post.

This image of a deer jumping through a corn field in Church Fenton near Selby was taken by Jonathan Gawthorpe, a photographer with The Yorkshire Post, just last week.

The animal appears to be a roe deer, which is the smallest native deer in Europe, growing to just 75cm at the shoulder.

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According to experts at the North York Moors National Park, in the summer months they are reddish brown with a white bottom but during the winter months they grow a thicker greyish brown coat to help retain body heat.

The months of July and August are the rutting season for roe deer, with the male bucks typically becoming very aggressive towards their rivals, chasing female does and giving out barks.

Roe deer have been hunted for centuries and by the 18th century were extinct in many parts of the country.

But they have since been reintroduced in some areas of the country and can now be most commonly spotted in northern England and Scotland. They are typically found in woodland and open countryside, where there are plenty of hedges and trees to provide both sources of food and camouflage from potential predators.

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Roe deer are active both in the day and at night, especially around sunrise and sunset. But experts suggest the best time to spot them is early morning, especially in autumn and winter when trees have shed their leaves and they become more easily visible.

According to the British Deer Society, roe deers’ “browsing of tree shoots and agricultural crops puts them in conflict with farmers and foresters due to economic damage. Conversely, many country and forest estates can gain substantial revenue from recreational stalking and/or venison production”.

Whatever your views, this small but perfectly-formed deer certainly knows how to make a memorable picture.

Technical details: Nikon D3s camera with 300m lens, 
exposure of 1/500th sec @ F2.8, ISO 800.